Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alison Adcock Kaufman
Taoism (or Daoism) refers to a philosophical and religious tradition that has played a prominent role in the history of East Asia. Core Taoist texts present the vision of a universe that is ruled by the principle of the “Tao” or “Way.” The Tao may be characterized as moral principle, as “Nature,” or as limitless, metaphysical reality. Because many Taoist teachings reject social and political institutions as interfering with the natural development of human character, some scholars have concluded that Taoist governance, if it exists at all, is anarchic. However, most Taoist texts do make explicit reference to governance, ...